May Contain Spoilers
Fast-paced and easy-to-read, these softcover 25-page graphic biographies teach students about historical figures: those who lead us into new territory; pursued scientific discoveries; battled injustice and prejudice; and broke down creative and artistic barriers. These biographies offer a variety of rich primary and secondary source material to support teaching to the standards.
Using the graphics, students can activate prior knowledge–bridge what they already know with what they have yet to learn. Graphically illustrated biographies also teach inference skills, character development, dialogue, transitions, and drawing conclusions. Graphic biographies in the classroom provide an intervention with proven success for the struggling reader.
When I first received this review book, I wasn’t impressed. At 25 pages, it seemed skimpy, and I didn’t think a graphic novel about Steve Jobs would hold my attention, even at such a low page count. Now, don’t get me wrong. If you know me, you know how much I love gadgets, most of which Steve Jobs was directly responsible for. He had such a vision of what technology would and should be, and he had the drive to make his ideas transform the world. His contributions to technology have touched the lives of almost everyone, and there aren’t many people who can make that claim. To me, Steve Jobs is a lot like Walt Disney; he saw a void in the entertainment world, and he aggressively moved to fill it, despite set backs and the skepticism of others. When he passed away last year, I was surprisingly upset, and I was left to wonder what other wonderful ideas he might have had, what other ways he could have changed my world.
This graphic biography is part of Saddleback’s collection of fast-paced and easy to read glimpses into the lives of famous historical figures. It’s marketed to struggling learners, and because everyone is aware of Apple products and almost everyone owns at least one, I think that this book will appeal to even the most reluctant of readers. It would also be appreciated by Middle Grade readers. It is a very easy to read book, and it is packed with the highlights and even the rare failures that made up Jobs’ career. I found the material extremely compelling, as I was there for many of Steve’s product launches. My mom had an Apple computer, and I wasted many, many hours playing Tetris on it when I should have been doing homework instead. I still love Pixar movies, and I wonder how different Disney would have been without Toy Story and Monsters, Inc to enrich both their movie catalog and their theme parks. Where would I be without my iPhone and iPad? Probably reading more, but most assuredly Tweeting, texting, and blogging less.
While I enjoyed the written material, I found the artwork functional at best. These are no frills illustrations that follow along with the text, but offer nothing more. The prose was occasionally stiff and unnatural. At 25 pages, the $7.95 price point is also exceptionally steep, so you might want to check this out of the library. Despite these nitpicks, I thought this was an informative and interesting read. I am definitely in the minority about this, so you might want to sample a copy at the bookstore before you purchase.
Review copy provided by publisher